Now that the election has been called in favor of now President-elect Joe Biden, the medical community has poured out offering congratulations, suggestions and predictions. The bulk of the organizations are towing a nonpartisan line, pledging to work with the new administration, but remaining shy of political backing.
One such organization is the American Telemedicine Association. Telemedicine issues have become a larger focus during the coronavirus pandemic, and in Washington we’ve seen expanded offerings surrounding the technology. There is now an increased focus on what will happen to telemedicine regulations after the pandemic.
“Telehealth has been and will remain a bipartisan issue, and the ATA will continue to work with the federal government to improve policies to expand access to telehealth. During the past four years, the current administration has made many positive changes to Medicare policy to support telehealth. We are very encouraged that President-elect Biden has been on the record in support of telehealth and its continued expansion, and we look forward to working with his administration and with Congress in 2021,” Ann Mond Johnson, CEO of the ATA said in a statement.
“As we move on from this election, now is the time for policymakers to act to ensure Americans continue to have access to virtual care when and where they need it, particularly to help solve for health disparities among rural and underserved communities.”
The innovation space is also looking ahead to the next administration. It’s no secret that the digital therapeutics space has seen massive advancements within the last decade and is looking to the next administration to propel those further.
“Over the past year, we've seen promising regulatory advances related to digital health –from the establishment of the FDA's Digital Health Center of Excellence, to the update of data sharing and interoperability requirements, and CMS' interest in providing Medicare beneficiaries with access to new technologies that improve health outcomes,” Megan Coder, executive director of the Digital Therapeutics Alliance, wrote in an email to MobiHealthNews.
She said that the organization foresees the Biden administration looking to policies that are “driven by science, medicine, rigor, and clinical validation.” The organization is also looking towards this administration to tap into digital therapeutics to meet the needs of underserved populations and address “clinical gaps.”
Coder noted that in the future we could see the Affordable Care Act integrating digital therapeutics and other digital health products into its offerings. Lastly, she notes that DTx alliance foresees the Biden Administration building on data sharing and interoperability rules, which give patients increased control over their data and enable more communication between stakeholders.
While HIMSS (the parent company of MobiHealthNews) did not get into specifics, the organization congratulated the new administration on their victory and declared that it would work with the U.S. government to address some of the most pressing issues in healthcare through leveraging technology – specifically digital health, telehealth and interoperability efforts.
“HIMSS, a nonpartisan organization on a mission to reform global health through information and technology, congratulates President-elect Biden on a successful campaign and election,” the company said in a statement. “Under the Biden Administration, HIMSS will work closely with the U.S. Congress, public policymakers, state legislatures and regulatory bodies to improve health through information and technology.
"HIMSS and its 80,000 members know that healthcare technology can be leveraged to better address the COVID-19 pandemic and as a key enabler for advancing value-based care and expanding patient access, particularly in rural, urban and underserved communities. HIMSS will continue to support policies that further embrace healthcare technology advancements in all areas of digital health, including connected care, telehealth, interoperability standards, and patient data privacy and security.”
The provider view
Pairing congratulations with further discussion of the coronavirus pandemic was another popular theme. Biden has said that COVID-19 will be his top priority when he gets into office. Just days after being declared the winner, he announced a COVID-19 Advisory Board, which will be led by cochairs Dr. David Kessler, Dr. Vivek Murthy and Dr. Marcella Nunez-Smith.
Beyond congratulations, the American Hospital Association went on to highlight that it has the same priorities as the elected administration.
“We both share the same top priority: fighting the battle against COVID-19. As we continue on the front lines in this fight, we will work as partners to protect our patients and communities, as well as support our brave health care workers,” Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, said in a statement.
“Our other priorities remain the same: advancing the transformation of health care, ensuring access to coverage, enhancing the quality of care and making health care more affordable. Hospitals and health systems look forward to addressing the health care needs of our nation with the new Administration and Congress to help advance health in America.”
America’s Essential Hospitals took a similar approach, putting the pandemic front and center. The organization not only congratulated the president-elect, but also urged the incoming administration to prioritize supporting hospitals during this time.
“Even as we stop to reflect on today’s election results, the spread of COVID-19 reaches new heights – and essential hospitals remain on the front lines of our response to the pandemic. We must return quickly to the important work of ensuring these hospitals have the support they need to care for the vulnerable people and communities they serve,” Dr. Bruce Siegel, president and CEO of America’s Essential Hospitals, said in a statement.
“We applaud Biden and Harris for their commitment to equity, social justice, and access to affordable, high-quality health care. We stand ready to work with the Biden administration to achieve that vision and to improve the lives of all people across our nation.”
The Infectious Diseases Society of America came out after the election and said that the plan the new administration is proposing includes key elements that it supports.
“A coordinated, consistent and collaborative evidence-based strategy, working with scientists and communities, as well as with international partners, will be essential to ending this pandemic,” Dr. Barbara Alexander, president of the organization, wrote in a statement.
"The plan that Mr. Biden has released reflects those crucial components. The need for more testing, medical equipment, including to protect health workers, and therapies to combat this virus remains crucial, and we look forward to informing the next president with our frontline perspectives.”
On the payer side, the Affordable Care Act has been in the news recently. This morning the Supreme Court heard the first oral arguments over whether or not the ACA is valid without the individual mandate.
We did hear a statement congratulating Biden from one of the largest payer organizations. America’s Health Insurance Plans pledged to work with the new administration to help drive innovation and competition. The organization highlighted providing choice to patients and more health equity.
“We look forward to working with the new Administration to deliver a competitive system that leverages private sector innovation to improve on what is working, so that everyone has access to affordable coverage and high-quality care,” Matt Eyles, president and CEO of AHIP, said in a statement.
“There are many health care challenges that our nation must face together – from continuing to battle the COVID-19 crisis, to making health care and prescription drugs more affordable, to protecting patients from surprise medical bills, to ensuring stable coverage markets for those who need it most.”
Not every organization sent out a statement. In fact, the American Medical Association was noticeably absent from commenting on the election results. While the congratulations and advice is still coming from the medical community, all eyes are on January and Biden’s new approach to healthcare.